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Income Disparity, Environmental Concerns Biggest Challenges Facing Chinese Communist Party – Eric X. Li

China’s income disparity and environmental degradation are the biggest challenges currently facing the ruling Chinese Communist Party at the 100th anniversary of its founding, said Shanghai-based venture capitalist and political scientist Eric X. Li, who vigorously defended the party’s style of government while expressing doubts about liberal democracies around the world.

“Liberal societies should learn from the party state in China,” Li said. “The party state in China has been very good at self-criticism – that’s why they reinvent themselves. Liberal societies have been failing at that for decades.”

In a spirited Zoom webinar moderated by FCC President Keith Richburg, Li said the CCP had embarked on its third “reinvention” since winning power 72 years ago and transitioning to a government party and then embarking on an openness and reform policy in 1979. This latest reinvention, he said, is driven by a desire to tackle income inequality and achieve a more “balanced growth.” He added that a focus on repairing the environment was a second major priority.

He said that Western countries such as the United States need to be less arrogant, then went on to dismiss the suggestion that the CCP needs to legitimize its rule through elections or referendums because such processes have caused dysfunction and paralysis in liberal democracies.

“I think democracy needs a new set of measurements,” Li said. “I think democracy needs to be measured by outcome, not procedure.”

Asked why the CCP has little tolerance for dissent or criticism, Li countered that there is plenty of debate and difference of opinion in China, including among the party leadership. But he argued that the dissent found in liberal societies has no place in China.

“Just look at the countries that have it: they’re not being governed very effectively, they are polarized, their people hate each other, their media hate each other,” Li said. “We don’t want that.”

He also defended the more assertive, sometimes bombastic, stands by Chinese officials on social media — sometimes referred to as “Wolf Warrior diplomats” — saying Westerners were simply not used to Chinese standing up and loudly speaking back against criticism. 

“They’re seeing their country being demonized by Western politicians and media, and they’re reacting to it for the first time in many decades,” Lis said. “You’d better get used to it.”

Aside from issues of income inequality and the environment, Li argued the CCP needs to steer younger generations away from populism and nationalism toward “productive socialism” and “healthy patriotism.”

“If it can do this, it will deliver on the material and spiritual aspirations of China’s new generations and, as a result, stay in power for a very long time to come,” Li said. “Success is not assured, but I wouldn’t bet against it.”

Watch the full conversation:

Solidarity Amongst Journalists Needed as Apple Daily Closes – Brian Stelter

On the day that Apple Daily published its last edition following 26 years of operation, CNN’s Brian Stelter said in a webinar hosted by the FCC that journalistic solidarity is needed in challenging moments such as these. 

“Nothing unites journalists more than a threat against a newspaper or a publication or against journalism itself,” Stelter said. “Nothing unites this industry more than a moment like this.”

Speaking to FCC press freedom committee co-chair Eric Wishart, Stelter said that the shuttering of a newspaper like Apple Daily is something that resonates around the world and should be taken note of by an international audience.

“I would say solidarity is a critical component of this,” said Stelter, the anchor of Reliable Sources and author of the newly updated paperback version of Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.

Asked if Apple Daily’s closure would resonate with people in the United States, he said that there would be some awareness but not enough, and that issues of press freedom in general deserve a bigger audience.

“We also have to tell the global story, that this is something that we’re seeing erosion [of] in many countries. All of us, including me, have to work on that,” said Stelter.

Watch the full conversation below:

FCC Expresses Deep Regret Over Closure of Apple Daily

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong wishes to express its deep regret at the announcement of the closure of Apple Daily.

Apple Daily has been a vibrant member of the Hong Kong media landscape for more than quarter of a century and a widely read source of information for many in the city.

The closure is a blow to the journalism community in Hong Kong and raises legitimate concerns over the future of press freedom in the city. It comes after government authorities froze its assets and arrested several top editors. 

The closure also has a major social impact and will leave hundreds of journalists, editorial production staff and other employees involved in the publication and distribution of the newspaper unemployed. 

The FCC calls on the Hong Kong media community to provide assistance for those now left jobless with the closure in finding new employment.

FCC Minimum Spend

Please be advised that FCC Minimum Spend, which was rolled over from March, will now appear on members' June statements which will be sent in early July. We are hopeful that current restrictions will be eased in the coming weeks allowing for greater enjoyment of the Club, with a return of popular events such as guest speaker lunches, quiz night, increased banqueting options and longer opening hours. Please remember the minimum spend can be used for the club's extensive take-away menu, including drinks. Additionally, vouchers equivalent to any outstanding minimum spend can be purchased and will be valid for use through to September 2021.
23 June 2021

The Club is moving to “Type C” under “Vaccine Bubble” on July 1

The Club is moving to “Type C” under “Vaccine Bubble” on July 1
      
Dear Fellow Members,
I am pleased to be able to share with you some encouraging news.
More than 90% of our FCC staff have so far begun their vaccinations, including those who are medically exempted. Such a high rate will soon allow the Club to gradually increase our operations as we work to return to something more like our pre-pandemic ‘normal’.
Our next goal is to move to the government’s “Type C” category, which will allow us greater operating flexibility. We will do this effective July 1. Please note: this requires action from members as well as staff.
“Type C” will enable us to increase table size to six persons from the four allowed under our current Type B category, and to extend the closing time from 10pm until midnight. We hope to expand operations further over the next few months.
To get to “Type C”, all of our staff must have received at least first dose of a vaccine. We’re confident we will manage this by the end of June.
The change for members is that they and their guests will have to use the government’s Leave Home Safe app to visit the Club. This is a government stipulation and those who do not do so face a $5000 fine. There is no exception for not having a smartphone. The only exception is for visitors under the age of 16, and those 65 or older, who can still fill out a paper form.
Please be aware that individuals – that is, members and their guests – bear responsibility for using the app, not the Club, in case of an inspection and a fine being issued.
We’re looking forward to welcoming more members back to the Club under “Type C” and also to bringing back more of the atmosphere and buzz that make the Club such a magnet for us all. These measures will also go some way to reducing the financial deficit caused by the restrictions associated with the pandemic.
I expect that in early August, we will be able to go further still and move the first floor to Type D. That would mean the Main Dining Room, the Verandah as well as the Hughes and Burton Rooms could operate with 8 people per table and stay open until 2am. They will also be allowed to have events and functions for up to 100 people. For that to happen, all members using that floor will need to have had at least their first vaccination, or bring a medical exemption certificate along with a negative result from a Covid test taken in the last three days.
We’ll update you on our progress towards that goal in the coming weeks. We plan that the Main Bar and Lounge as well as Bert’s, will continue to operate under “Type C” even if the first floor goes to Type D.
These are important milestones in our efforts to return to normality and improve the Club’s financial performance and they can be met only with your cooperation and support. Thank you!
Keith Richburg
President
致各位會員:
首先,很高興在此與大家分享一個令人鼓舞的消息。
至目前為止,本會已有超過九成員工開始接種疫苗,包括已取得醫生證明書而獲豁免者,有望能夠逐步地回復到疫情前的正常運作。
由7月1日開始,本會將轉換到C類的運作模式,當中需要會員和員工的一定配合。
由B類轉換到C類的運作模式,每枱人數可由最多4人增加到6人,營業時間由晚上10時延長至午夜12時。我們期望在未來數月可以再進一步恢復一切運作。
為達到C類的運作模式,所有員工必須已接種第一劑疫苗,我們有信心員工會在6月底前完成。
根據政府規例,會員和賓客必須使用「安心出行」進入本會,而該程式需在智能電話下載。若違反規定,可處定額罰款5,000元。至於未滿16 歲,及65歲或以上則可選擇填顧客資料記錄表。
就有關巡查或罰款細則,在此提醒各位會員和賓客,使用「安心出行」應用程式屬個人責任,而非本會。
本會希望C類運作模式可以款待更多會員,亦能帶動更多歡樂氣氛,提高本會的吸引力,同時舒緩因社交距離限制而帶來的財政赤字。
預計8月初開始,一樓樓層將進一步轉換到D類的運作模式,即Main Dining Room、Verandah、名仕閣和漾馨廳可以每枱最多8人,營業時間延長至凌晨2時,宴會人數上限亦可增至100人。為此,所有會員和賓客必須已接種第一劑疫苗,或因健康理由不適合接種者需出示醫生證明書及宴會前3日內檢測結果呈陰性證明。
在未來數星期,我們會定期向大家更新營運進度。儘管一樓樓層轉換到D類的運作模式, Main Bar、Lounge和Bert’s會繼續在C類的模式下運作。
有賴各會員的攜手合作和支持,本會才能努力回復正常運作及改善財政狀況,共同實現這個重要的里程碑。
特此感謝!
瑞凱德
主席

FCC Statement on Arrests and Search Involving Apple Daily

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong is concerned over the arrest of five Apple Daily executives, including its editor-in-chief Ryan Law and deputy chief editor.

According to the Hong Kong police and media reports, the five were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to collude with foreign forces under the National Security Law and were undergoing questioning.

The FCC notes that the Hong Kong police’s search of the Apple Daily premises took place under a warrant “covering the power of searching and seizure of journalistic materials.” Press reports indicate that police searched journalists’ notes and files and accessed their computers.

We are not pronouncing on the legalities of the situation or today’s actions. However the Foreign Correspondents’ Club is concerned that this latest action will serve to intimidate independent media in Hong Kong and will cast a chill over the free press, protected under the Basic Law.

FCC CLARE HOLLINGWORTH FELLOWSHIP

    
      
FCC CLARE HOLLINGWORTH FELLOWSHIP
Applications open until July 14, 2021
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, is accepting applications for the Clare Hollingworth
Fellowship, named after the preeminent and path-breaking journalist.
The Clare Hollingworth Fellowship will honour early career journalists and current journalism school
students in Hong Kong. Journalists and journalism students from all fields of professional study are eligible.
Benefits include full membership, complimentary access to events and networking opportunities. Applications close on July 14. The fellowship will run for one calendar year, 1 September 2021 – 31 August 2022.
Please spread the word and forward to friends and colleagues.
For more details on how to apply, visit our website.

FCC Clare Hollingworth Fellowship – Applications Open

The Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club is accepting applications for the Clare Hollingworth Fellowship, named after the preeminent and path-breaking journalist.

Clare HollingworthMs. Hollingworth had a remarkable career as a foreign correspondent with the scoop of the century as a 27-year-old when she reported on Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939. Ms. Hollingworth was also a treasured member of the FCC for more than 40 years who made significant contributions to the intellectual and professional life of the FCC.

The Hollingworth Fellowship will honour early career journalists and current journalism school students in Hong Kong. Journalists and journalism students from all fields of professional study are eligible. Applications close on 14 July. The fellowship will run for one calendar year, 1 September 2021 – 31 August 2022.

 

Overview of key features of the fellowship:

  • Complimentary access to all FCC professional talks, official gatherings and conferences (subject to pandemic restrictions);
  • Unlimited access to the FCC facilities including the gym and workroom;
  • FCC monthly dues and the membership fee are waived for the fellowship period; and
  • Networking opportunities with senior newsroom leaders

 

For details on past fellows, please see below:

  1. Jennifer Creery and Tiffany Liang
  2. Mary Hui and Jessie Pang

 

Fellows Requirements and Expectations

  • Fellow to produce and contribute a piece in their field for the FCC (e.g. long-form article for the FCC magazine, The Correspondent (see examples here and here); photographic exhibition for the Bar, video piece for the website) and
  • Fellow will help to present FCC virtual speaker events and assist in the organization of virtual and in person events for journalists. Past FCC Journalism Conference keynote speakers include Maria Ressa, Co-founder and CEO of Rappler; Jean H. Lee, Director, Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars and Pulitzer-nominated veteran foreign correspondent and expert on North Korea; Nicole Tung, a Turkey-based photographer and winner of the James Foley Award for conflict reporting.
  • Fellow will actively contribute to the intellectual and professional life of the FCC.

 

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates must meet all of the following criteria to apply:

  • At least two years’ journalism experience with a proven track record of developing stories in any sector or medium. Applications are welcome from candidates from foreign news organisations as well as local news organisations in Hong Kong.
  • Be 30 years of age or under at the date that the fellowship begins.
  • Be a resident of Hong Kong at the time of application and a resident of Hong Kong for the duration of the Fellowship.

 

Application Process and Material

Applicants are required to submit the following for their application in English language by 14 July, 2021. Only chosen candidates will be notified by writing. Late or incomplete applications will not be permitted. All files must be submitted in either PDF or MS Word format to [email protected] with the subject line as follows Attn: first name/last name of applicant, Clare Hollingworth Fellowship application:

  • Two pieces of published work, or in the case of a journalism student, two essays at no more than 2000 words each.
  • A 500-word statement of intent for the piece that the Fellow will contribute to the FCC.
  • Please send via post two sealed written references from suitable referees, e.g. senior editor or journalism school dean again with the same subject line: Attn: first name / last name of applicant, Clare Hollingworth Fellowship application. The reference letters should be sent to The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, North Block, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong. When submitting your application, please note in the covering email that the references have been sent via post. Reference letters should specify how long the referee has known the applicant and in what capacity, comments on the applicant’s potential to make an impact in the field of journalism, and any relevant prior experience.
  • Recent resume of no more than 2 pages.
  • Provide a valid HKID card number.

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